Baguio has always been this enchanting city up in the north. The cold, gloomy city never runs out of surprises that pique anyone’s curiosity. Even I, a graduate from a university in Baguio, have never explored the City of Pines in those four years. I only memorized the streets surrounding Session Road, and never took the opportunity to explore every nook and cranny of the city. In those four years, I only had the chance to explore the city like a tourist two days before my graduation.
“What a waste!” you might think. Baguio was my second home, but it’s still a stranger to me. So, when I got the opportunity to revisit the city, I left all the preconceived notions I had of the city to rewrite the rules.
With the Huawei P30 Pro Amber Sunrise in one hand and a surge of courage, I joined creatives and other content creators for PRACTICE: A Photo Walk for the Brave Creators, a two-day creative retreat organized by Globe Postpaid. Here are places I discovered in my second home.
Oh My Gulay
I always see Oh My Gulay on Instagram, and I always wondered where this whimsical place is located. Turns out, it’s just along Session Road—I just was not looking hard enough for it.
Oh My Gulay, as its name suggests, is a vegetarian restaurant and art space. Although located along one of Baguio’s busiest roads, the place is surprisingly spacious enough to put up Instagram-worthy whimsical structures reminiscent of those fairytales from my childhood.
As it is also an art space, Oh My Gulay holds art exhibits. On my visit, it featured plastic bag art by art therapist Jojet Lamberto.
IliLikha Artist Village is a treehouse-like food park located just a five-minute walk from Oh My Gulay. IliLikha, which comes from the word “ili” meaning “town” and the Filipino word “likha” meaning “to create,” was founded by National Artist Kidlat Tahimik to support local artists.
Although I’ve been here before, I always end up discovering something new in this space. For one, one would never run out of food choices here; there are 12 restaurants and cafés to choose from. All of which are housed in IliLikha Village’s unusual architecture.
As the founder is a filmmaker, IliLikha also houses a mini theater where you can watch some rare treasures of cinema like the National Artist’s films. Bet you’d never find those on streaming sites.
Valley of Colors
Even under dark clouds, the Valley of Colors in La Trinidad, Benguet never fails to stand out. Inspired by Brazil’s favelas, the Valley of Colors is a massive artwork made out of the vividly painted homes of three neighborhoods in Benguet: Stonehill, Botiwtiw, and Sadjap. The neighborhood artwork is a result of the collaboration between residents and artists from Tam-Awan Village.
I’ve only seen the place in photos, so I was excited to finally be able to see it. What kind of Baguio resident was I back in college, right? It was interesting how the usual stack of houses in the area looked like one big artwork painted. The gloomy weather did not even ruin the view, but made the place stand out even more.
The village showcases the traditional Cordilleran village life, specifically their homes and places where the villagers would meet to socialize, such as the Dap-ay, where disputes are solved and where plans for the village are discussed. But the steep path along the village makes it hard for visitors to hike up when it rains. Still, the accessible neighborhood café already gives visitors a glimpse of the village’s rich art scene.
Baguio Craft Brewery
Of course, what is a visit in Baguio without a mug of beer from Baguio Craft Brewery? The rustic pub along Marcos Highway is known for its wide array of beer selections. From pale ale to more unusual fruit beers, Baguio Craft Brewery has it all. It’s chugging mugs upon mugs of beer with their carefully assembled selection of food. This, and the breathtaking view that comes along with it, is just the peace and calm I need before I head back to my busy life in Manila.
There’s a distinct type of pain whenever I leave Baguio, but there’s also the joy in knowing that it will always welcome me back with open arms to celebrate a new day. It makes me even more excited to return, explore this city from a new perspective, and rewrite the rules. At least, I captured memories from this trip with my Huawei P30 Pro Amber Sunrise, powered by Globe Postpaid ThePLAN.
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